This Week in College Writing

Each semester at this time, I read drafts of personal narratives by education students. The assignment asks them to dig into formative educational experiences that may have led to their decision to become a teacher. Aside from all the hallmarks of good writing—clarity, coherence, organization, detail, and more—I want them to consider what it felt like to be on the lightweight end of the inherent power imbalance between teacher and student, coach and player, tutor and tutee, guidance counselor and college applicant, drama director and student actor, camp counselor and camper. And each semester, it’s the same old thing: Shivers. Sharp breaths. Scrawling “sheesh” and “lovely” in green. Seeing each at a rare moment, when the child-turning-adult considers simultaneously the child from a tiny time ago and the adult who will connect with children like her a tiny time ago. Same old hope for these students’ future students.